Hybrid Conf: Etsy's product design principles

Hybrid Conf: Etsy's product design principles

Etsy's product design principles presented by Cap Watkins (@cap) at HybridConf 2013. Cap discussed the principles of product design and gave some great insight into the inner workings of Etsy's design team. Here's what I learned from his talk.

  • At Etsy everyone is encouraged to work in every team for a period of time, you earn badges over 10 years to symbolise which teams you have worked with.
  • Adding a feedback tab to the Etsy product page increased conversion rate by 2%. Most people didn't even click it.
  • Trust the data and use it to measure design changes.
  • Etsy's mobile traffic is growing quickly, soon it will reach 50% of all traffic.

Principles of product design

Be a product designer

  • Design should be involved in the whole process, we shouldn't stop design when we start development.
  • Design is the why, it explains why we are doing something.
  • Write out all of the problems and tenets before you start any design work.
  • Ask questions throughout the process.
    • Are we solving the right problem?
    • Does this still make sense?

No silos

  • Designers have an advantage as they need to work across the whole product.
  • Talk to every designer ever involved in the work, don't make assumptions for them.
  • Share design processes, be transparent with the team.
  • Ask peers for feedback on everything, post your work on internal message boards and gather responses.

Celebrate failure

  • Always assume the first attempt will fail.
    • Plan to fail.
    • Keep iterating and eventually it will be great.
  • Perfection is a pursuit.
  • It took Etsy 6 months and 20 full iterations to get their new product page right.

All things are subject to change

  • Your team will change size and processes will no longer work.
  • If it doesn't work then try something else.
  • If it does work, then try something else when it breaks.
  • Nothing is permanent.
Cap Watkins presents Etsy's product design principles
Cap Watkins presents Etsy's product design principles.